Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Melancholy and Dark Rememberances

Things have been pretty crazy for the old Doctor lately. Work's been nuts, and I've recently returned to school again in the eternal quest to finally finish my Bachelor's degree.

There have been some upsides though. I recently went to the Phantasy Night Club to see one of my favorite bands from the 90's do a reunion show. The Phantasy in Lakewood, by the way, has not changed at all since I first went there at 16 or 17 years old to see old school punk shows.

The band I saw was a local, Cleveland Goth band called Lestat. Very cool because I -seriously - LOVED them back in the day. I still, to this day, have Lestat songs on my iPod. I even wrote about them in my first novel, North Coast Gothic: A Grim Fairy Tale.. They were a huge part of my early adulthood - and I am excited that they're back together and releasing a new CD in December.

Bonus: My friend Christine (who works here with me in Evil Corporate World and you may remember as one of the fine actresses from the awesome Cleveland-based independent film company -Bad Eye Films) is an old friend of the lead singer of Lestat. In fact, he too works here at Evil Corporate World in our IT department. She even managed an introduction via Facebook, so he and I have corresponded a few times.


Where am I going with all of this, and how does all of this coolness in Dr. Z's life match up with the seemingly grim title for this blog post?

Well - it's a perfect storm for Dr. Z to get all melancholy and moody.


First, it's fall. Autumn always gives me such a deliciously heady mix of emotions. It's my favorite time of year and I love everything about it... Halloween, falling leaves, pumpkin brews, clambakes, the return of my beloved Browns, warm days, cool nights... it's all there. But, it also makes me really, really nostalgic. It gets me thinking about high school, and college, and the fact that I'm one year older and farther away from the expectant excitement of childhood and trick or treating.

Add into that the fact that I'm back at school, and that I just saw one of my favorite bands from my singlehood and young adult life, and you can see where I'm at.

To make things worse, a week ago I had to order a new copy of The Cure's Disintegration. I finally replaced the CD I bought back in May of 1989 (a mere month before I graduated high school) because it had become unplayable. That CD sustained me through years of moodiness and is, in my mind the quintessential Cure CD. So, with a shiny new copy in my cold, undead hands it's been a week of Plainsong, and The Same Deep Water as You. If I'm not listening to that, I listening to my copies of Lestat's Grave Desires and Vision of Sorrows.

This will not end well, dear readers. Not well at all.

Don't worry about, Doctor Zombie, though. I'll pull on my black Converse Chuck Taylor high tops, buy some New Holland Brewery Ichabod Pumpkin Ale and suck it up. Incoherent rambling, pointless points aside, I'll pull it together. I promise!

I'm not really sure where this post was going, but it started with Lestat, and it should end with Lestat I guess. I just pulled up the manuscript for my first novel, North Coast Gothic to see what I'd written about them, and figured I'd excerpt it here. It, oddly enough, encapsulates how I'm feeling.

It's also an opportunity for me to plug my novel because that's what I do. Truthfully, I haven't sold a copy of North Coast Gothic in months and I fear that it's very dated and only appeals to Clevelanders, but I still have a warm spot for it in my undead, beating heart because it was my first novel. Honey Badger don't care!

Anyway... check it out and, if you get the chance, check out Lestat. You won't be sorry.

Excerpted from North Coast Gothic: A Grim Fairy Tale

"Lyds and I went to a concert a few weeks ago...

...The concert was a small show at the Cleveland Agora. The Agora is a rundown, decrepit old theatre that brought in only alternative bands and the occasional pro-wrestling gig. You’ve got to love the Agora for itself, though. It was small and intimate, and some of the greatest bands of all time have played there. I saw my first concert there. It was a double bill of the Violent Femmes and the Dead Kennedys, I think. In an age of stadium shows and $85 ticket prices, there’s something wonderful about paying fifteen bucks for a show where you can drink with the band afterwards.

I had been feeling especially melancholy lately, and that’s why I was at the concert. I looked around me and I realized what had been bothering me so much lately. I was feeling old. I was a few weeks away from my thirtieth birthday, and I was no longer a kid. So much had happened in the last year and I was feeling so horrible disconnected from who, or what, I was. A Goth couple stood in front of me and they were twenty if they were a day. He had a black t-shirt with the name of some band I’d never heard of before and a shaved head. His girlfriend was a beautiful girl with black lipstick, a tight ass under a black vinyl skirt, and a baggy sweater. She looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and she went back to talking to her boyfriend. The guy looked happy as hell, in that innocent way that everyone did at twenty. He could have been me ten years ago.

I felt myself growing angry. At what, I wasn’t sure. Maybe it was the youth of those kids in front of me, or my impending birthday. I sat there glowering.

We had just finished listening to the opening band; a local group called Bath. They had a male and female singer who alternated songs. Their style, lyrics, and their whole set was pretty much unintelligible, but I liked their sound. I’d seen them one other time and had actually bought one of their tapes. They played for a while and, when they were done, I excused myself from my friends.

After a while, the lobby lights flicked and I returned to the theatre. I found Chris and Lyds near the stage and walked up. The lights dimmed and the band entered. We were there to see the band Lestat and they took the stage amidst machine-generated fog and red and black lighting.

The lights came up and the Agora was filled with moody music in a minor key. With no fanfare or preamble, the band’s lead singer, Razz, came out and broke into song as the crowd went wild. I’d been listening to them for years and wryly wondered if half the kids there had been out of elementary school the first time I had seen Lestat.

I felt the dark music sweep over me and I lost myself in the swirling Gothic sounds. As I’d done the first time I saw them, I fell in love all over again with the band’s guitarist; a black haired vampire named Susan. She stood in the corner, somberly wrapped up in the music her long, delicate fingers made. Meanwhile, Razz’s deep voice sang of blood and redemption and I looked around me, sighing with a sense of melancholy. Suddenly, like an epiphany, I came to a dramatic realization.

As I stood there among the sea of black clad bodies and the haze of clove cigarettes, I saw myself. Here and there, I saw a pale faced Goth with wrinkles around their eyes, or one with a Robert Smith haircut and a bald spot, or a normal looking person singing word for word with Razz. I realized I wasn’t alone.

As I’ve said before, Goth and Industrial culture is about nonconformity. But, more importantly, it’s also about finding a niche for those who are similar to you. We Goths are alike in our souls and I wasn’t the only one aging, or getting married, or having children. I had different priorities, yes. But I was still a Goth at heart. I did not have to give this up.

I didn’t know what kind of father I’d be. I didn’t know what kind of husband I’d be. I supposed I’d just have to be the best that I could. All the tragedy and all the curves of life were inconsequential. You deal with the shit as it comes along.

In the meantime, I listened and absorbed the throbbing beat of the music, the dark sound enveloping me. I embraced the music back, like one would embrace an old lover. It was like going home."


Chuck said...

Wow. Kindred souls...

I, too, love this time of year and the delicious depression that it brings. Only now I get to pass on my excitement to my teenager and watch as she experiences the same rush that I remember each autumn. I hope she remembers it as fondly as I do.

As a lifetime Clevelander, I'm ashamed to admit that I've never listened to Lestat (though my tastes back then leaned more towards heavy metal than goth.) I've spent many hours trying to find the albums of my youth and discovering music I missed when I was 19. Thanks for the recommendation.

Well, I'm off to peruse my new Kindle version of "North Coast Gothic" (no shit... I bought it based your mention in this post). I imagine it to be every bit as good as the well-worn paperback I have at home.

Another fall tradition gets an update.

Take Care.

Dr. Zombie said...

Thanks, Chuck. You and I need to meet up and have a beer or 6 sometime. I agree... kindred souls indeed!